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  • GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

The Right Way to Prepare for a Chess Tournament

GM Narayanan shares his tips on how to prepare for a tournament, be in good shape, and in the right mindset.

Tournament Preparation | 2 min read
The Right Way to Prepare for a Chess Tournament

Chess tournament preparation, no matter at what level it is held, is always a stressful activity. It’s not enough to study a huge number of materials, memorize techniques, learn strategies and tactics of the game. It’s also crucial to be able to control yourself, keep calm and collected at the board, otherwise the game will definitely be lost.

GM Hrant Melkumyan has already shared with you tips on how to prepare for the game. In this article, I’ll share with you practical and effective ways on how to prepare for the tournament and to be in good shape.

To cover all of the aspects, the methods I suggest are divided into 3 categories: How to prepare chesswise, psychologically and physically.

How to prepare chesswise?

  1. Solve puzzles daily during the training regime for at least 1 hour. The puzzles should be ideally 1 step above your level just to start moving out of our comfort zone.
  2. Train visualization skills if you think it’s not working well for you. It could be trained in many ways either chesswise or other methods.
  3. Refresh your knowledge of basic important endgames. I do not recommend learning a completely new system to play in the tournament. Just play what you already know!
  4. Refresh the opening work. Again, review the opening lines that you have in your repertoire, don’t try to learn new ones.
  5. Stay focused during the training since it will surely help you to cultivate the habit of staying focused at the board.

The list is never complete and anything which suits you and works well for you could be added.

How to prepare psychologically?

I am not a psychologist to speak on the topic of mind but will rather try to throw some light on typical well-known methods to keep our minds in good shape.

  1. Get the right mood, concentration, positivity and joy, which could be trained outside the chessboard too. If you feel like you want to go for a movie now, just go, don’t think too much on the aftereffects, rather try to focus on the present action which makes you happy.
  2. Meditation, deep breathing and preparing for success are other (widely accepted) ways of preparing yourself for the tournament psychologically.

How to prepare physically?

Tournaments don’t test your chess skills only, often they test your stamina and endurance. Therefore,

  1. Do physical exercises. They won’t make you a grandmaster, but they are essential for maintaining your brain activity, especially during long tournaments.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Eat healthy food.
  4. Develop the “never say die” habit.

Follow these methods and I’m sure you’ll feel totally prepared for the tournament in terms of game knowledge, as well as psychologically and physically, and it will be much easier to deal with the challenges of the tournament ahead of you.

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Also, read the article on winning chess tournaments where GM Gabuzyan shares 7 practical tips along with his journey of winning the Armenian Championship.

Originally published Feb 29, 2020

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